The Grapevine, Feb. 5, 2020

School is on

A poem by Emmett G., Magnolia class
(written during the snow days)

School is on at ten o’clock
and to school we shall walk.
We didn’t have school because of the snow,
but now the snow is starting to flow.
We had fun with kids around,
and boy, did we make sound.
I got new snowboots a few nights ago,
and they are perfect for sledding. Ready, set, go!

Highlighting Montessori Thoughts this week

Each month the classroom newsletters, from Toddler through Upper Elementary, include a short essay called “Montessori Thoughts.” Whether short and sweet reflections of playground interactions or profound explanations of pedagogy, they provide insight into school, classroom and Montessori philosophy. This week, we’re highlighting several of these, from Early Childhood to both levels of Elementary.

Middle School artists create Museum of Memories

How a child learns to concentrate

The Apple Class logo

Montessori Thoughts, from the February Apple class newsletter, Jody Sagawa

“The more the capacity to concentrate is developed, the more often the profound tranquility in work is achieved, then the clearer will be the manifestation of discipline within the child.”—Maria Montessori

Did you ever wonder why your child spends so much time in the practical life area scrubbing tables or polishing silver? We constantly strive to increase the child’s attention span through work. This work may be an art activity, it may be scrubbing a table, or it may be polishing silver. These types of activities are long, multi-step processes which gives the child practice in executing each step, focusing on the task at hand, and completing the process thoughtfully and independently. It is amazing to watch the focus and concentration of a polishing a silver sugar bowl. It is through this type of work that a child realizes that mindless chatter with one another is not necessary. In fact, quiet is almost necessary to concentrate and remember what step comes next! To watch a child attain this is a beautiful thing. The child is seen at peace, fully engrossed in the task at hand. It is through this type of work that a child truly learns how to concentrate.

In the gallery are a variety of Early Childhood activities from the North Creek and Woodinville campuses

Where creativity can flourish

Willow class logo

Montessori Thoughts, from the January Willow class newsletter, Amy Fujimoto and Veronica Juarez

“Creativity is a contagious force.”—“Art as Medicine,” by Shaun McNiff

Our multi-aged, multi-experienced, and multi-action environment could seem overwhelming to people. The structure within the chaos is integral to the success of the Montessori environment. The structure is everywhere and yet almost imperceptible as you observe a classroom. Why are there rugs for working? This small structural item help identifies where people walk and at the same time provides a space for the student to create and learn. The shelves each have a function, there is a place for reading, writing, money, art materials, and zoology. Everything is placed back where it was found. It allows everyone to function in the environment and make use of the tools for learning. These structures give rise to creativity. If an individual knows where the materials are, has a place to use them along with the trust that no one will interrupt them, then the creative process can begin. As each child works, not everyone is doing the exact same thing, which also lends itself to creativity. Each student is encouraged to follow up with activities after lessons that inspire them. If they don’t know where to begin, the teachers can guide the student into an activity. Our Montessori classrooms encourage flexible and creative learning through the organization of the space and emphasis of working within a community.

In the photos: the children have been doing rotations of activities that range from Ozo Bots, Snap Circuits, and Little Bits. The children enjoy the opportunity to work creatively and in small groups during our ID Lab times.

Thank you, families, for the TSA luncheons

Our second Teacher Staff Appreciation (TSA) Luncheon of the year was a success! Parent volunteers worked hard to put together a festive family recipes/international cuisine-themed luncheon for both campuses.

“A very heartfelt thank you to everyone for the amazing TSA luncheon last week!” said Apple teacher Jody Sagawa. “The food was so delicious!”

A very special thank you to these folks who contributed to the event:

North Creek campus volunteers:
Faira Sullivan, Gayle Kwon, Sangeeta Vekatachalam, Daniela Ferreira, Erica Johnson, Katie Scott, Huan Lin, Solongo Purevsuren, Neha Shah, Jonna Erickson-Outlaw, Anita Ko, Laila Kabani, Cheryl Kellogg, Christa Charter, Weilan Zhang, Steffanie Scriba, Debra Ridling, Frances Ju, Camille Woolley, Jessica Ng, Sonika Saini, Jennifer Wiley, Norhan Saad and Erica Johnston.
Woodinville campus volunteers:
Lindsay Nason, Stephanie English, Kristi Larson, Yi Tang, Jialu Yan, Alexandra LaFontaine, Renae Kochel, Suzanne Mehren-Weed, Deepa Srinivasan, Cristina Podlusky, Chen Weng, Huan Lin, Had Wu and Jin Wang.

We are looking forward to our third and final TSA Luncheon of the year on Tuesday, March 31! More details to come closer to the date.—TSA Committee (Family Alliance)

Read the Family Alliance newsletter

WMS Family Alliance

The winter edition of the Family Alliance newsletter has been posted to the FA page. Note that the next all-school meeting of FA is at 3:30 p.m., Feb. 10, at the Woodinville campus. Want to learn more about the Family Alliance and all it has to offer? Come to our periodic all-school meetings to discuss upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, leadership opportunities, social ideas and much more.

Cultivate a culture of embracing diversity

Montessori Thoughts, from the February UE newsletter, by Amanda Freerksen
“We must look to the children as a vehicle for bringing change to humanity, which has now become confined by prejudices and habits that cannot be eradicated. You can persuade, but you cannot alter the facts. The facts come from a deeper origin. To understand is not sufficient. We must educate humanity from the beginning for this purpose and put the children in an environment where they are not the prey of prejudices.”—Maria Montessori (The 1946 London Lectures, Lecture 13 “Study of Man”)

One of Maria Montessori’s most dominant aims was to present education of the child as a vehicle for peace. While she insisted more than once that “the child is both a hope and a promise for mankind,” it was never her intention to burden children with the weight of the future or the seemingly impossible task of ending conflict and warfare. Instead, it was her hope to build a foundation for peace, and it is up to caring, loving, and prepared adults to provide that foundation. No doubt, young people these days are sending the message that they are not waiting around for adults to do the right thing. In fact, the climate activists recently heralded in the news are indeed youth in the last two planes of development who are taking matters into their own hands, but that does not mean their parents should sit back and let them do all the work. It’s time for the grown-ups to do their part, but how? We must create an educational environment conducive to building peace and provide opportunities for taking peaceful action.

Honing the spiritual self—As Dr. Montessori stated in 1946, “An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking.” The first step, she explained, involves the spiritual development of humankind. From early childhood to secondary, the Montessori curriculum addresses spiritual needs as one of the fundamental needs of humanity. In the early years, students learn about the art, language, food, and music of different cultures through continent studies. At the elementary level, students explore different cultures through their studies of ancient civilizations from around the world. They learn about rituals and beliefs that may greatly contrast their own, and in the process they deepen their understanding of their own ideas. Furthermore, they come to recognize that while they may not agree with the beliefs they are learning about, it is important to respect the ideas that differ from their own. Ultimately, through these cultural experiences, the children begin to develop and hone their spiritual self.

Valuing and appreciating each individual—Next, the process involves enhancement of one’s own value as an individual. Upper El students have the opportunity to work on this step through our social-emotional and peace curricula. With topics ranging from identity and safety to reproductive health and digital citizenship, the message is clear. Our students are valued and appreciated for the unique individuals that they are. In addition, we have touched on topics of gender identity and expression and will further explore these ideas in the coming months. Furthermore, our literature curriculum supports this exploration of identity through texts like “The Giver,” in which students consider what the world would be like if there were no diversity, only sameness. Other students are reading about an experience that is entirely foreign to them in “A Long Walk to Water,” but despite not having to travel half a day on foot to fetch water, among other differences they explore in the text, the students learn that in the end, we are more alike than different.

Understanding the era—Finally, to build the foundation for peace, young people must be able to understand the era in which they live. Through our peace curriculum, students learn about topics ranging from Hispanic Heritage and Black History months to child labor to current events, such as an incident of discrimination at a local business. We provide students the opportunity to have an open dialogue about these topics in a safe place where they feel comfortable to ask questions and share their thoughts. Additionally, our science curriculum includes ecology as a pervading theme. Students have explored environmental topics such as plastics in the oceans, as well as animal conservation. Finally, they understand first-hand the importance of being good stewards of our land through our partnership with Friends of the North Creek Forest. To be sure, the students are well aware of humanity’s negative impact on the environment, and several of them have been working on ways to address this grave concern.

If our children are to avoid falling prey to prejudices, it’s up to us to provide them with an environment free of prejudices. Instead, we can cultivate a culture of embracing diversity in all its forms. Talk openly and respectfully about race, rather than just wishing racism didn’t exist. Visit a place of worship of a religion that is not your own. Listen to music in a foreign language. Attend a Festál event in Seattle to learn about a different culture (more information is provided through this link). Intentionally read books written by authors of various races and cultures. Better yet, ask your children what they want to do to bring peace to their world.

Students at work around the school

Board of Trustees seeks new members

Curious about the WMS Board of Trustees? The Board is a governing body that establishes policy, ensures the financial health of the school, and maintains and supports the institutional mission. The Board’s role is one of governance and oversight, but Trustees are NOT involved in management, personnel or curricular issues. The Board has five working committees: Committee on Trustees (HR), Fund Development, Strategic Planning, Finance and Audit.


Wednesday, Feb. 5
•  Last day to register for Feb. 7 camp
Thursday, Feb. 6
•  Coffee with Sunita, 8:50 a.m., Woodinville
•  WMS Basketball practice, 4 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 7
•   NO SCHOOL for students, conference day for Toddlers, Early Childhood and Elementary, camp offered with reservation prepaid by Feb. 5
Saturday, Feb. 8
•  WMS Basketball game, noon, Hidden River Middle School, 9224 Paradise Lk. Rd., Snohomish
Sunday, Feb. 9
•  WMS Basketball game, 4 p.m., Hidden River Middle School, 9224 Paradise Lk. Rd., Snohomish
Monday, Feb. 10
•  Early Bird registration for summer camp opens
•  February All-School Family Alliance mtg., Woodinville campus, 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 12
•  BOT mtg., 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 13
•  Registration for Midwinter Break camp closes
WMS basketball practice, 4 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 14
•  WMS Spelling Bee, 9 a.m., EL Club House, Building 2, North Creek campus
Heads up
Midwinter Break is from Feb. 17-21. NO SCHOOL, NO CAMP on Monday, Feb. 17 (Presidents’ Day holiday). CAMP OFFERED Feb, 18-21, with prepaid reservation.
•  Keep up with the WMS calendar here.

Please do not share access codes with children

We are having issues with children below sixth year using codes to access the building. Please note this from our Parent Handbook:

ACCESS: Access codes are given to all adults, sixth-year and secondary students in our community. PLEASE DO NOT SHARE YOUR CODE WITH YOUR CHILDREN. When children are observed using a door code, the code will be deactivated and a new code issued. Children are notoriously indiscreet about sharing their door codes with others, which completely defeats the purpose of limiting access. Everyone’s cooperation and attention is necessary for us to provide a safe and secure learning environment. All exterior doors are locked on the outside at all times; from the inside, they open so that egress is always possible. Be cautious about holding the door open for people you do not know or who don’t have children with them.

If you questions or concerns, please contact Facility Manager Tim McQuery.

Conference day child care reminder

There is no school on Feb. 7, Conference day for Toddlers, EC & EL. Complimentary, 20-minute drop-in child care is only for enrolled WMS students. While North Creek parents or guardians are in conferences, please take Toddlers to their classrooms; EC students to the EL Club House conference room (Bldg. 2) and EL students to EL Club House (Bldg. 2). Full day, prepaid camp will be on at the same time. At WV, 20-minute drop-in care will run from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., in the East building.

Coronavirus update

As of Feb. 5, no additional cases of coronavirus have been reported in Washington state. Remember that the risk of novel coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality.

You can keep up with the local news and learn more at this DOH website.

Read the King County Health Dept.’s updates here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers many resources and updates. Learn about the symptoms here, and possible preventive measures here. Please also read Handwashing—Clean Hands Save Lives on the CDC site.

Please practice these preventative measures, not just for this virus, but also for the flu and other illnesses:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
Healthy Eating Ideas speaker, in an orchard displaying an apple.

Learn healthy eating at Feb. 27 Community Workshop

RSVP for Feb. 27, 5-6 p.m., for “Healthy Eating Ideas,” with WMS parent Merril Lundgren, fan of healthy cooking and nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Please note that this, our second Community Workshop, is limited to 25 participants; complimentary child care is available only for currently enrolled WMS students, aged 3 years or older.

Apply for tuition assistance by Feb. 28

Families, Tuition Assistance applications are open. For the 2020-2021 school year, the majority of budgeted tuition assistance funds will be awarded to those who complete the FAST application by the Feb. 28, 2020, due date. Read more about it here.

Planning a change in enrollment?

If you are considering, or will be making an enrollment change for your student for the 2020-2021 school year, please fill out the enrollment change notification form. We will begin sending notices of admission to applicants in mid-March, and current families’ tuition deposits are due by March 1, in order to secure your student’s space for next year.

Record your volunteer hours in the Family Portal

As we are halfway into the school year, this is a friendly reminder for all families to log their volunteer hours in the Family Portal. Every hour you volunteer helps our school, in building community, getting to know our teachers and staff better and modeling service to our students. Plus, our total contribution of volunteer hours each year serves as a positive indicator for a healthy school, and allows WMS strong eligibility when applying for grants and re-accreditation, among other benefits. Instructions:
  • Sign into Family Portal
  • On your account, find Family on the left sidebar, expand the arrow to Family Home and click on Family Home.
  • On the Family Home screen, the service hours module will be the center top panel on your screen.
    1. You may see a dropdown above the module to select your name or your partner’s name, if you wish to specifically credit the service hours.
  • Click “Add+” on the upper right of the module.
  • Choose a description of your service from the dropdown. (If you are unsure, choose "Other.")
    1. “Verified by” can be the person in charge of the task or leave it blank. Then save the entry.
    2. A tip: to record more than one occasion of service hours, save and return to the previous “enter volunteer hours” page. Otherwise, you will be editing—and over-writing—the current entry.
If you have any feedback or issues regarding the logging system, please let Director of Development Laureen Ng know. If your company provides monetary donations to match your volunteer hours, it would be greatly appreciated if you applied—more info can be provided by your company’s HR department.

About the Grapevine

Welcome to the Grapevine newsletter. The Grapevine is published every Wednesday afternoon during regular school weeks. We welcome your submissions of photos and articles that are about or directly relevant to WMS students, subject to approval by the Director of Communications and Marketing. All submissions are due by 4:30 p.m., Mondays. We do not accept advertising.